Center Logo

2006 Lecture

Poet Prince and River Nymph: The 'Luoshenfu' in Verse and Painting

Photo for Poet Prince and River Nymph:...

Several handscroll paintings by anonymous painters tell the moving love story of the fourth-century Prince Cao Zhi and his vision of the river goddess from the banks of the River Luo as he headed home from the imperial court. They share a common iconography, the majority being thought to date from the Song dynasty. All but two of them reflect a very early landscape style with simplified mountains and trees as a setting for the meetings between prince and goddess. The two exceptions stand out from the rest by their much greater size and elaborate imagery. One, which tells the whole story from beginning to end, is in the collection of the Palace Museum, Peking, where it is ascribed to the Southern Song Dynasty; the other, acquired for the British Museum by Laurence Binyon from a Japanese dealer in 1930, is the focus of this talk. Although the British Museum handscroll lacks the opening scenes, it presents a fascinating example of the way in which Chinese painters approached the depiction of poetic narrative.

Roderick Whitfield, Percival David Emeritus Professor of Chinese and East Asian Art, and Professorial Research Fellow, Department of Art and Archaeology, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, was educated at home and at King Edward’s School, Edgbaston, Birmingham. He attended London, Cambridge, and Princeton Universities, studying with Professors Cheng Te-k’un, Denis C. Twitchett, and Shujiro Shimada. His doctoral dissertation at Princeton under Professor Wen Fong was on Zhang Zeduan’s Qingming shanghe tu (Along the River at the Qingming Festival). From 1968 to 1984 he was Assistant Keeper, Department of Oriental Antiquities, the British Museum, with particular responsibility for Chinese painting, including the Stein collection of Buddhist paintings from Dunhuang. In 1984 he was appointed Head of the Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art. He is a Visiting Research Fellow in the Center for Calligraphy and Painting Research, the Palace Museum, Peking; Corresponding Research Fellow of the Dunhuang Academy; and member of the Editorial Board of Artibus Asiae.


Please upgrade to a browser that supports HTML5 video or install Flash

Please upgrade to a browser that supports HTML5 video or install Flash

Please upgrade to a browser that supports HTML5 video or install Flash

The Sammy Yukuan Lee Lecture Series features a yearly lecture and seminar presented by leading scholars on Chinese art and archaeology.
Event Information
  • Lecture
    Saturday, November 11, 2006
    2:00 PM
Other Years

© 2024 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved. Privacy & Terms of Use